Helsinki Noir by James Thompson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The fourteen story collection of “Helsinki Noir” is the latest installment of the Akashic Noir Series, focusing around the Finnish capital. Edited by expat James Thompson, also a contributor, the stories range from dark and brutal to partially sunny and almost positive in overall tone.
The main characters of the stories generally are on the criminal side, including a few police officers, which slant the stories more to the dark side of the spectrum. Even when the main character is on the right side of the law, their perspective is darkened by their years fighting crime or living a psychologically scared life. If the tone of noir is meant to be dark, this collection definitely qualifies.
The further one gets into the books, the overall quality of the stories improves even though two of the best 5 stories appear early on in the volume. The characters and story structures are for nearly all excellent with only an exception there and there. If anything the biggest dislike of this book was amount of graphic sexual content that stressed my personal comfort zone.
Overall "Helsinki Noir" is a good collection of short stories that inclines towards being very good with only one exception. Not knowing what to expect, I was both surprised and disappointed with what I encountered in reading. Given the very dark tone of the majority of the stories, be prepared for some dark times. However if dark criminal stories are not your cup of tea then I suggest passing.
I received this book through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program.
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To read my thoughts on each story see the links below: